Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Curious Classroom-Some Final Thoughts.



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Hi Friends.  :)

A confession.  I tend to linger in professional development books.  
I often feel like I'm "behind" because I'll read something and linger with it in my classroom for awhile.  
I want to see if the reading really impacts my classroom practice.
I know I'm not really behind.  
Anyone else ever feel this way?  

So I read this gem over vacation:

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A fantastic read!  I know I've said this several times, but I felt so encouraged and empowered as I was reading this!  You too can have a Curious Classroom!  

I blogged about the beginning and chapter two separately.  

A Little Request:  Could you click on "the beginning" link and consider helping me?  It's a piece about my own curiosity and state rocks.  :)  

Today, I'm thinking about the rest of the book and how it had so many authentic suggestions to incorporate and encourage curiosity in the classroom.

Here are 7 I'll be considering as I plan for next year:

1.  Run right to page 44 and check out the wonder board!  Mrs. Limback's First Grade will have one of those this year!  Stay tuned.  

2.  As I consider the start to my day, I'm a fan of soft starts.  I love the lingering in books, the chatting, time to get ready.  Let's go ahead and add some research and journal time on a topic of interest to the child as they arrive at school each day.  (See Chapter 4 for more on soft starts!)

3.  News.  (Chapter 5).  I'll admit, I tend to shy away from this, but am learning rapidly not to do that anymore.  I'll be gathering and organizing kid news sites and webcams to be accessible for students.  I'll use Symbaloo, because that is the tool I like.  :)

4.  See more about experts in chapter 6.  As I reflected on this, my kids were exposed to 7 experts last year, including:  fire fighters, police officers, actors/actresses, the organizer of a food pantry, a dog handler, a park conservationist, and experts at our zoo.  I'm looking to add a few more for this year.  

5.  It was great to be reminded of Genius Hour.  I'll be adding that to my schedule this year.  

6.  Mini Inquiries that connect to curriucular units.  So, I tried to do a more project based approach last year, but didn't feel like I completely hit that mark.  So this year, as I write a yearly plan, I intend to build up time to investigate the questions that students have on the topic.  

*Also a moment here.  I teach P.E. as part of my New-ish gig.  If you do, get right to page 148-149 and read about connecting inquiry and nonfiction writing.  Or find your P.E. teacher and collaborate a little.  :)

7.  Crisis.  Lean right into it.  Ugh.  We had to last year when two of our finest were shot and killed less than a mile from my school.  We had to talk about it.  We had to wonder about it.  We had to "do" about it.  It resulted in a forming relationship with our police department.  It built empathy and concern like I've never seen before.  There were tears from kids and grown ups along the way.    I pray we don't have to lean in like we did last year.  But this one I would say is the most important.  Get right in there friends.  Don't shy away from the hard stuff.  

I was left with these encouraging words from The Curious Classroom:

Let Your fears go.
Take some risks.
Have fun.  


This is a book I'll be hauling around a lot this fall as we settle in!  I hope you have a chance to read it!
Joy!
Kendra


3 comments:

  1. It does sound like a wonderful book, Kendra. You know where I taught that students studied what they chose as a topic & I wrote the curriculum around it for each, kind of genius hour all the time. Also, one of my colleagues had students do a wonder notebook of writing each week. They chose a question and briefly explored it. It was his way of broadening the world for his students. I'm sorry to hear about your last part, yet teaching students how to process the hard things is important too, just sad that it has to be. You can find my e-mail at my site, so send a message with your address & I'll send rocks from Colorado! What a fun project!

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  2. Thank you for the recommendation. In return I will recommend Kath Murdoch's "The Power of Inquiry."

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  3. This sounds like a wonderful resource - I'll had to add it to my summer PD list.

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